Friday, October 17, 2008

What does grace mean to you?

Two from this week's NY Times:  


1)
First is one about a theatrical show 'Let Me Down Easy' by Anna Deavere Smith (she is the MacArthur fellowship winning playwright and actress who is famous for creating pieces around verbatim performances/reenactments of people talking about their experiences such as Rodney King).  This show is about medical care (a doctor who stayed at Charity Hospital after Katrina, a Rwandan medical student who witnessed genocide) and afterwards audience members are asked to write on boards in the lobby responses to the question What does grace mean to you?  The article is written by Pauline Chen (see this post) who writes in typically eloquent fashion:
I had not acknowledged the inner voice that carried on in my own head in the theater that night, despite my belief that I was really listening to the narratives that unfurled on stage. I did not acknowledge that listening to others, particularly to patients, requires letting go of a part of yourself, as Ms. Inema did, and as Ms. Smith does.
There's an audio interview between Dr. Chen and Ms. Smith (link is on the main article page).

Hat tip to Dr. Paul McIntyre for this.  

2)
There's also a brief essay written by an ER doc about watching his father, a retired radiologist, die.  He talks about wondering why he didn't cry when his dad died:
Or was it because he died at home, surrounded by those he loved, in such stark contrast to what I experience so often at work: all of those patients circling the drain on trips between nursing home and emergency room, and then dying alone with no one to feel their blood turn cold?

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